Meet Our Staff:


The Reverend Dr. Karen Lyons, Senior Pastor

Rev. Dr. Karen Lyons received her Doctor of Ministry Degree from Gammon Theological Seminary in May 2017. Her dissertation is entitled, “Multiculturalism and Collaborative Partnerships.” She received her Master of Divinity degree from Emory University, Candler School of Theology in May 2003 and Certification in Christian Education. She has extensive training in Clinical Pastoral Education and Care. She has worked as a Chaplain Intern at Metro State Prison for over six years and also served as a Chaplain Resident at Grady Hospital. One of her favorite scriptures is Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways and he will direct your path.”

On February 5, 2005, she assumed the role of Senior Pastor of Cliftondale UMC and was appointed there for nine years. . She was Ordained Elder in Full Connection in July 2010. She served as Associate Pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in June 2013 and was appointed to Clarkston UMC in June 2014. Karen has traveled around the world as an Army child before returning to her native State of Philadelphia, PA in 1966. She loves to spend quiet time at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit, read, garden and travel.

Karen has been married 35 years to Dr. Ralph C. Lyons, Gastroenterologist in Riverdale, Georgia. They have two daughters, Christine, an Opera Singer, and Jeanne, a Marketing Executive with Google. Karen serves on the Housing and Homeless Council and the Board of Ordained Ministry. She is a member the South Fulton Running Partners and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha She gained extensive experience in the corporate world in banking and in various church ministries before answering her call to ministry 1999. Conference, community and social group affiliations have prepared Rev. Lyons to participate in God’s vision for Clarkston United Methodist Church.

arnettesmithArnette C. Smith, Administrative Assistant
Arnette comes to us as a seasoned administrative assistant.  She has ties with the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church,  The United Methodist Church,  The Presbyterian Church, The Baptist and a Non denominational church.  She has many years experience as an administrative assistant .  She has been doing God’s work behind the scenes for years and will tell you quickly that this is her ministry.   Arnette was born and raised in the Atlanta area and  is the mother of one daughter, Bridgett Slayton, who is a sales rep for Georgia Lottery.  She is excited about being a part of the Clarkston United Methodist Church Family and hopes that in some small way she makes a difference in sharing her gifts and talents with the Clarkston Church Family and the community!
Lisa Wilson, Director of Music Ministries
Lisa joined our staff in the Fall of 2017. We are blessed to have such a talented musician on our staff.